A report from Liza Alwes of STAND:
Last night we held a teach-in during President Shalala's class (in an adjacent classroom). It was mostly attended by workers, and they got to have a conversation with two Miami-Dade health care policy professionals (with the aid of some truly impressive simultaneous translation by our own lovely Beni). The first thing the speakers did was ask each worker to say the last time they'd been to the hospital and what it had been for. We got a litany of the same two responses over and over: "I wasn't able to get treatment because I don't have insurance," or, "I was able to get treatment and I now owe thousands of dollars." A single medical disaster can saddle uninsured people with debts too large for them to repay if they work until the day they die.
One woman in particular sticks in my mind - she said she'd been worried about a painful lump in one of her breasts for several months, and had gone to get a mammogram but had been turned away because without insurance she was unable to pay for it. I just thought - whoever's idea it first was to sacrifice decent care of one's employees for the sake of a slightly fatter profit margin must not have had a mother, or any family for that matter. How can you see a woman who could be on her way to a life-threatening disease and cry, "free market"? It seems to me like some more people need to think of how they would feel if their mothers, their wives, their sisters or daughters worked full time, worked two or three jobs, and still were not able to get the medical care they needed.
This is really ludicrous. Let's do something about it. Hey - do it for your mom.